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Health and Social Care BSc (Hons) - University of Sunderland

Course overview

Do  you like working with people? This dynamic course will prepare you for the increasing number of jobs in the highly rewarding areas of health and social care.

The academic study of Health and Social Care explores key issues that influence health, social care and wellbeing of individuals and communities in the 21st century.

The course draws on the latest research and experience of professionals to provide valuable insights and real-world skills. You will develop your knowledge and skills in areas such as psychosocial perspectives of health, counselling, research, health improvement and behaviour change.

You will also be equipped to work with vulnerable groups, such as children, older people, disabled people or people with mental health problems, together with those affected by domestic violence and misuse of drugs and alcohol. The course highlights the importance of joined-up working between health, social care and other private and voluntary sector organisations.

The course focuses on enhancing your employability in a wide range of health and social care settings. The placement module will give you practical experience and there is also a module on social entrepreneurship. Throughout the course you will develop a portfolio of evidence that will add support and credibility to job applications.

Nine out of ten students on Sunderland’s social studies courses agree that teaching staff are ‘good at explaining things’ and ‘enthusiastic about what they teach’, and Health and Social Care was voted 100% in terms of overall student satisfaction.  (Source: National Student Survey 2014.)

Course content

We offer modules which enhance employability such as counselling skills, substance misuse, health improvement and behaviour change, safeguarding and social entrepreneurship, not to mention the placement module.

Modules on this course include:

Year 1 (national level 4)

  • Understanding Health and Social Care (20 Credits)
  • Social Problems (20 Credits)
  • Practical Skills in Health and Social Care (20 Credits)
  • Dimensions of Health (20 Credits)
  • Exploring Psycho-Social Theory (20 Credits)
  • Applied Qualitative Research in the Social Sciences (20 Credits)

Year 2 (national level 5)

  • Health Improvement and Healthy Lifestyles (20 Credits)
  • Medicalisation, Normality and the Body (20 Credits)
  • Working Together to Safeguard Young Adults and Children (20 Credits)
  • Sex, Families and the Construction of Personal Lives (20 Credits)
  • Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences (20 Credits)
  • Counselling Approaches in Practice Settings and Guidance (20 Credits)
  • Lifecourse Approaches to Children, Young People and Families (20 Credits)
  • Globalisation, Health and Social Care (20 Credits)

Final year (national level 6)

  • Substance Use and Society (20 Credits)
  • Practical Application (placement) (20 Credits)
  • The Clinical Gaze: Medicine, Disability and Confinement (20 Credits)
  • Contemporary Issues in Social Welfare (20 Credits)
  • Entrepreneurship and Project Management (20 Credits)
  • Lifecourse Approaches to Health and Ageing (20 Credits)
  • Gender, Violence and Society (20 Credits)
  • Dissertation (40 Credits)

Teaching and assessment

Our teaching methods are designed to develop not only your knowledge but also skills that enhance employability. Methods include workshops, small group work, lectures, computer-based learning, presentations and independent learning.

Assessment methods include written assignments, portfolios of work, time constrained tests, group projects/presentations, multiple choice questionnaires, carrying out real-life research and poster presentations.

To find out more about modules, credits, and how you will be assessed, please see the page how courses are taught. Information about our policies relating to student experience and quality assurance processes can be found on the Academic Services website.

Key Information Sets

All UK universities and colleges display Key Information Sets (KIS) on their undergraduate courses. The KIS gives you a quick overview of some standard information about a course, and has a link to more detailed information on Unistats.

Facilities & location

The course is based at the Priestman Building on City Campus, just a few minutes from the main Murray Library and close to Sunderland city centre. Thanks to a major renovation programme, the Priestman Building provides state-of-the-art teaching space and resources as part of a vibrant and outward-looking learning environment.

We have invested in specialist software packages that facilitate rigorous social science. They include NVivo, which allows deep levels of analysis of large volumes of data, and SPSS for surveys and data mining.

We also make full use of e-learning resources. Sunspace, our virtual learning environment, provides in-depth information about the course content as well as a range of relevant resources.  

University Library Services

We’ve got thousands of books and e-books on health studies with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so that you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles.

Some of the most important sources for your studies include:

  • SocINDEX with full-text articles – probably the world's most comprehensive and highest-quality sociology research database
  • Professional Development Collection, which features hundreds of education journals and reports
  • Psychology and Behavioural Sciences Database, which includes full-text journal articles on topics spanning emotional and behavioural sciences, psychiatry and psychology
  • Lexis Library, which covers UK and international legal information as well as full-text newspaper articles
  • Community Care Inform, which helps professionals who work with children and young people to make, and evidence, their decisions

IT provision

When it comes to IT provision you can take your pick from hundreds of PCs as well as Apple Macs in the David Goldman Informatics Centre and St Peter’s library. There are also free WiFi zones throughout the campus. If you have any problems, just ask the friendly helpdesk team.


Priestman Building

City Campus, Green Terrace, Sunderland, SR1 3PZ

Entry requirements

Our typical offer is 104 points from a minimum of two A Levels or equivalent (for example 1 x AVCE double award). Read more on the new UCAS Tariff point system for 2017.

We accept a maximum of 6 points from Level 3 Key Skills qualifications.

We also require three passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language, or a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number.

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.

There is also the possibility to top-up your degree at Sunderland following the completion of a FDA in Health and Social or equivalent course to Level  5.

Other acceptable qualifications

BTEC National: 104 points from a BTEC Certificate or Diploma.

Access Courses: We would require successful completion of an Access to Higher Education course that is accredited by the Quality Assurance Agency. We would also require a minimum of grade C in GCSE in Mathematics and English Language or the equivalent as part of your course.

Scottish Highers: Our typical offer is for 104 points.

Irish Leaving Certificate: Our typical offer is for 104 points.

International qualifications: Please call the Student Helpline for advice on other acceptable qualifications. The number from outside the UK is +44 191 515 3000.

Any other qualifications: If you have any other qualifications not listed here, you may still be eligible. Please contact the Student Helpline for advice: 0191 515 3000.

Returners to Learning: If you are a mature student, you may benefit from our dedicated Returners to Learning Progression Scheme. For further information email or call the Student Helpline: 0191 515 3000.

If you wish to be considered for direct entry to a different year of a course, please contact the Student Helpline: 0191 515 3000.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

If you feel you already know some of the topics covered in this course, either due to previous learning or from experience of work, then you may not need to study all of the course.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is the name given to the process of gaining credit towards a qualification because of something you have learnt in the past. If you are eligible for APL you won't have to learn the same topic again, and so you can be exempt from a module, set of modules or year of a course. 

Read more about APL in the Quality Handbook (.pdf). If you think you may be eligible for APL, please contact the course leader.

Fees & finance

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £10,750 if you are an International student

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or International student, please see the International section of this website.

Scholarships and bursaries may be available to you – please see the Fees and Funding section of this website for more information.

Employment & careers

Sunderland has a good reputation with employers. The large majority of our social studies graduates who find jobs within six months of graduating are classed as ‘public service professionals’, ‘social welfare associate professionals’ or as undertaking ‘caring personal service occupations’. (Unistats 2012/13)

We have a wide range of contacts and networks in the region in a broad range of health and social care organisations helping us to provide quality placements.

Examples of organisations that employ our graduates include:

  • NHS
  • Drug and alcohol agencies (public, private and voluntary sectors)
  • Mental health agencies
  • Hospices
  • Charities (e.g. Age UK, MIND)
  • Social Care (e.g. Turning Point)
  • Nursing
  • Social Work

Some of our graduates go on to further study, such as taught Masters courses or research degrees in health service management, occupational therapy, social work, health promotion and public health.

Guest speakers

We invite guest speakers to the University, or we go on a visit to their workplace, to build up your knowledge of how theories work out in practice. Past speakers have come from public, private and voluntary agencies such as Children North East, Lifeline, Healthworks and Headlight. 

Visiting speakers help you relate academic learning to the varied opportunities that await you in the work arena. It’s all part of broadening your learning so that you’re prepared not just for exams but for life.


To further enhance employability you will undertake a 60-hour placement during your final year. This is an excellent opportunity to put your knowledge into context and your learning into practice. Past placements have been with organisations such as local hospices, residential care homes, disability support, schools, mental health services, drug and alcohol services, the North of England Refugee Service and Age UK.

Study Abroad

You can switch your studies to another country for one or two semesters during the second year. You can choose from over 150 universities in 20 countries, either English-speaking (such as Australia, Canada and the USA) or non English-speaking (such as Argentina, Brazil and Japan). This gives you an opportunity to get a broader perspective on issues of health and social care and gain international experience.

University Language Scheme

It is usually possible to take a module from the free University Language Scheme. This can be studied on top of your 120 credits or in some cases, can earn credits towards your degree.

Language skills increase your international mobility and you can choose between French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese and Arabic at a range of levels. If your first language is not English, please check with your tutor about entry requirements.

Staff and students talk about the benefits of the University Language Scheme:

The Enterprise Place

If you have a good idea for a new business and have the dedication and motivation to make it happen, then we want to hear from you. The Enterprise Place, based on-campus at St Peter's Gate Business Centre, is the perfect environment for entrepreneurial students and graduates to turn their business ideas into reality. You will have access to free hot desk space, IT facilities, specialist advice and support and business mentors and networking opportunities.

To find out more about how we can help you start a business, please contact the University's Enterprise Team:

Tel: 0191 515 3751


The University of Sunderland is committed to ensuring that every student has an impressive range of opportunities to enhance their CV and gain valuable experience:

  • Work placements
  • Graduate internships
  • Studying abroad
  • Student Ambassador Scheme
  • Mentoring
  • Starting your own business
  • Student jobs and volunteering
  • Careers advice

For full details, please see our Employability page.


Support for your learning

You can expect stimulating contact time that includes lectures, workshops, seminars and case studies. There is also a significant amount of time where you will be researching and studying on your own in preparation for assignments and seminars. If you have individual queries or difficulties within subject areas, you can book an appointment with your tutor to gain more in-depth support and guidance.

Practitioners provide support in teaching activities ensuring that the curriculum is relevant.

From the start of the course you will be allocated a Personal Tutor. You’ll meet your Tutor at agreed times throughout each year of the course. Personal Tutors encourage your personal development and are a useful point of contact for any queries about your course, extracurricular activities and issues where they can point you towards specialist services at the University. These include student counselling, financial advice and chaplaincy support.

Support for your development

To help ensure the course is meeting aspirations for personal development, we invite students to fill in questionnaires at the end of modules. This provides a structured way for you to keep us up-to-date with your views.

During your course, and particularly towards the end of it, we encourage you to make full use of the resources at our Careers & Employability Service. The Service helps you explore your options, clarify your ideas, develop a career focus and make effective applications.

Extracurricular activities

The University supports student-led initiatives that enhance the extracurricular activities available to you. Some of these are related to particular subjects while others allow you to pursue interests and social activities. It’s all part of the vibrant and life-changing atmosphere at the University of Sunderland.

"After graduating I have been employed by GP Strategies Training as an NVQ/QCF Assessor in Health and Social Care."

Claire Dinsdale - BSc (Hons) Health and Social Care BL95

Claire Dinsdale - Graduate

Employed by GP Strategies Training as an NVQ/QCF Assessor in Health and Social Care

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my 3 years at the University of Sunderland and my degree in Health and Social Care has helped me to further my own education as I will be undertaking an MSc Public Health in the near future.

“I chose to study Health and Social Care as I felt it was a very broad subject that would lead me to a career once I graduated. After graduating I have been employed by GP Strategies Training as an NVQ/QCF Assessor in Health and Social Care. I feel my experience of working in the Care sector, along with the completion of my degree, helped me to relate to those wanting to further their careers in the health and social care field.

“The University of Sunderland has so much to offer! The library is great with lots of resources and the lecturers and staff were friendly and very approachable - if I had a problem lecturers and staff were always there to help in any way they could.

“During my first week at the University I was nervous and very appehensive as I didn't quite know what to expect, however all my fears were unfounded as once I entered the room there were so many friendly faces and the social science lecturers were very reassuring.

“In my second year I became a student representative which enabled me to assist other students with sharing their voice by attending regular meetings with lecturers. I continued this into my final year.

“My favourite part of university life was meeting all the 'for life' friends I have made, both fellow students and lecturers!

“If I had once piece of advice for new students it would be to get involved in any social group or events - meet people and don't be afraid to join in!”

"The facilities are great and all the staff are so friendly and helpful."

Karen McKinney Health and Social Care

Karen McKinney - Graduate

Currently working in the voluntary social care sector

"I am so pleased that I chose to study at the University of Sunderland. The facilities are great and all the staff are so friendly and helpful.

"I chose to take part in the University’s buddy scheme. Being a mature student I wasn’t sure if I would fit in to university life. My buddy was in a very similar position to me and she gave me the encouragement and additional support I needed to get off to a positive start.

"From the very outset the tutors were very supportive and approachable. Every one of them determined to help you reach your full potential.

"I thoroughly enjoyed the whole course. It covered such a wide variety of topics which I found fascinating, thought provoking and very emotive. The things I enjoyed most about the course besides the tutors was the visits to various health and social care providers and the group projects. 

"I am currently working in the voluntary social care sector working with the elderly and considering further study to build upon my Health and Social Care degree.

"One piece of advice I would give is to enjoy every minute because it flies over.

"I have gained so much more than just a degree. I have gained confidence but more importantly lifelong friends."

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my three years at this great University and this degree has helped me progress onto new exciting adventures."

Helen Dyer BSc Health and Social Care

Helen Dyer - Graduate

Education Support Officer, Neuro Partners

"After graduating from my degree in Health and Social Care I have been working for Neuro Partners as an education support worker at the University of Sunderland, where I mentor various students who require support with their studies. I feel my first-hand experience of completing a degree is helping me relate well with the students as I know exactly how they are feeling. It was only a few months ago and I was the one stressing with assignment deadlines and the dreaded dissertation.

"I have found this job to be very rewarding; it is great being able to help and support others with their education and it is nice to remain connected with this University. Additionally my Health and Social Care degree is helping further my own education as I will be undertaking an MSc Occupational Therapy in January. I believe my degree in Health and Social Care will provide me with a good knowledge base for this post-graduate study. Finally I have thoroughly enjoyed my three years at this great University and this degree has helped me progress onto new exciting adventures."

Apply for this course

Interested in this course? Apply straight away through UCAS, or read our 7-step guide to applying to university.

Want to know more about this course or the University of Sunderland? Order a prospectus or come to our next Open Day to see the facilities and talk to academic staff:

    Next Open Day

  • Date: Thursday 23rd February 2017
  • Time: 3:00pm-8:00pm
  • Type: University Open Day
  • Location: Science Complex, City Campus, Sunderland SR1 3SD

Contact Sunderland

Programme Leader:
Neil Evans

Contact the recruitment team for further information about studying at the University of Sunderland:

Recruitment Team
Telephone: 0191 515 3000 

The details

Course Name Health and Social Care
Classification BSc (Hons)
Course Mode Full-time
Course Level Undergraduate
Duration 3 years
Study Location On-campus (Sunderland)
Starting 18 September 2017
UK/EU Fee £9,250
Intl Fee £10,750

Entry requirements

120 points

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